Private banking 2012: Lebanon’s private banks prove their resilience
Based on the results of this year’s Euromoney survey, Lebanon is one of the few markets in the Middle East where local private banks still compete effectively with their international rivals. While international banks such as HSBC and Credit Suisse lead the way in Bahrain, the UAE, Egypt and elsewhere, in Beirut the situation is far more mixed.
Audi Saradar Private Bank, part of the Audi Saradar Group, is ranked as the top provider of private banking services, moving up from second place last year. The winner in 2011, Credit Suisse, has dropped to fifth place. At the same time Blom Bank, which provides private banking through its Blominvest division, has moved up from fourth to third position overall.
Georges Abboud, head of private banking at Blominvest, attributes much of the performance of the local banks to the fact that interest rates for Lebanese deposits are still high.
"We keep on paying decent money on the deposits," he says. "If you look around at the interest rates being paid abroad we’re still 2% to 3% above that, so it still makes sense to have money placed on deposit. In Europe your money is sitting and effectively earning 0%, so you have to invest somewhere.